By Barney Blakeney
After more than 20 years as executive director of the S.C. NAACP Conference of Branches, Dwight James December 22 announced he will retire in March. His last day on the job was set to be January 10. A Charleston native, James has spent more than four decades in service to the organization holding various positions including president of the Charleston Branch NAACP.
In a December 22 letter James said, “After more than twenty years of service in this capacity, I believe I have given as much as I can to benefit the South Carolina NAACP in this role. Upon much consideration, I have decided to resign from the position of executive director of the South Carolina state conference and enter retirement … I believe that to everything there is a season, and I am now embracing this new reality for the state conference. I only hope the state conference will continue to build upon the achievements we’ve made over the years to serve those who rely greatly upon our voice and a potent advocacy,” he said.
Conference President Brenda Murphy said James leaves at a time when a lot is going on – the conference January 21 will conduct the 19th annual King Day at the Dome rally. James’ departure after 20 years of service unquestionably means he will be missed, Murphy said, but she feels the conference is in position to move forward. That means empowering local branches to do the work necessary through training, guidance and the provision of resources, she said. Moving forward also means recruiting more volunteers and attracting many who left the organization over the years, Murphy said.
She said the executive committee will meet to come up with a job description for the new executive director. She expects it will take several months to fill the position. James has committed to working with a transition team.
“My official retirement date will be March 8, 2019. However, my last day reporting to the State Conference Office will be January, 10, 2019, with the balance of time depleting the majority of my accumulated annual leave. It has been an honor to be associated with many dedicated and committed civil rights workers who provided the legs that enabled the State Conference and the NAACP as a whole to aggressively pursue civil rights over the years. I plan to remain an involved member with the local NAACP and to lend support particularly to our youth units where my journey began with the Association many years ago,” he said.